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Eurika Jessa Castillon

People vs. Galit
[GR 51770, 20 March 1985]

In August 23, 1977, Mrs. Natividad Fernando was found dead in her bedroom as a
result of 7 wounds inflicted in her body. More than 2 weeks thereafter, the police
authorities picked up defendant-appellant, Francisco Galit on suspicion of the murder
on the occasion of a robbery. When the case was referred to the NBI, NBI Agent Flores
conducted a preliminary interview of the suspect who allegedly gave evasive answers.
The following day, Francisco Galit allegedly voluntarily executed a “Salaysay” admitting
his participation in the commission of the crime and implicating two other persons as
his companions. In reality, Galit had been obtained and interrogated almost
continuously for 5 days, but he had consistently maintained his innocence. The
investigating officers began to maul him and to torture him physically. Galit admitted
what the investigating officers wanted him to admit and he signed the confession they
prepared. Galit was charged with the Crime of Robbery with Homicide and was found
guilty with the sentence of death penalty. Hence, the automatic review.

Whether or not a monosyllabic answer to a long question suffices as a voluntary
admission that may be used against the accused?


Herein, the only evidence against Galit is his alleged confession. A long question
followed by a monosyllabic answer does not satisfy the requirements of the law that the
accused be informed of his rights under the Constitution and our laws. Instead there
should be several short and clear questions and every right explained in simple words in
a dialect or language known to the person under investigation. Galit is from Samar and
there is no showing that he understands Tagalog. Moreover, at the time of his arrest,
Galit was not permitted to communicate with his lawyer, a relative, or a friend. In fact,
his sisters and other relatives did not know that he had been brought to the NBI for
investigation and it was only about two weeks after he had executed the salaysay that
his relatives were allowed to visit him. His statement does not even contain any waiver
of right to counsel and yet during the investigation he was not assisted by one. At the
supposed reenactment, again Galit was not assisted by counsel of his choice. These
constitute gross violations of his rights. Trial courts are cautioned to look carefully into
the circumstances surrounding the taking of any confession, especially where the
prisoner claims having been maltreated into giving one. Where there is any doubt as to
the voluntariness, the same must be rejected in toto.
People vs. Lugod
[GR 136253, 21 February 2001]

A case of rape with homicide was filed against the accused, Clemente John
Lugod, for allegedly raping the eight-year old girl victim, Nairube J. Ramos and
dumping her dead body in the grassy coconut plantation area.
On September 15, 1997, Helen Ramos, the victim’s mother, was asleep in her
house together with her husband and their children, Nimrod, Neres and Nairube. At
around 12:30 a.m., they noticed that Nairube was gone. The backdoor of their house was
left open where a pair of slippers that did not belong to the family was found. In the
morning, the police began their search for Nairube wherein a panty belonging to the
victim was found, as well as a black collared shirt belonging to the accused, Lugod.
Witnesses testified that both slippers and the shirt were worn by Lugod. Lugod was then
brought to the police station. Although he admitted to SPO2 Gallardo that he raped and
killed Nairube, Lugod refused to make a statement regarding the same.
On September 19, 1997, the Vice-Mayor visited the accused in his cell. In the
course of his conversation with Lugod, Lugod allegedly confessed to the commission of
the offense. Lugod was charged for rape with homicide. After trial, Lugod was found
guilty and was sentenced to death. Hence, the automatic review.

Issue: Whether or not Lugod’s alleged confession can be used against him?

Held: At the time of his arrest, records reveal that accused-appellant was not informed
of his constitutional rights to remain silent and his rights to counsel. There is also no
evidence to indicate that he intended to waive these rights. Consequently, the accused-
appellant’s act of confessing to SPO2 Gallardo that he raped and killed Nairube without
the assistance of counsel cannot be used against him for having transgressed accused-
appellant’s rights under the Bill of Rights. This is a basic tenet of our Constitution which
cannot be disregarded or ignored no matter how brutal the crime committed may be.

Even if we were to assume that accused-appellant was not yet under interrogation
and thus, not entitled to his constitutional rights at the time he was brought to the police
station, the acts of accused-appellant subsequent to his apprehension cannot be
characterized as having been voluntarily made considering the peculiar circumstances
surrounding his detention. Amidst such a highly coercive atmosphere, accused-
appellant’s claim that he was beaten up and maltreated by the police officers raises a
very serious doubt as to the voluntariness of his alleged confession.

In addition, the records do not support the confession allegedly made to the
Mayor and Vice-Mayor. Records show that the Mayor of Cavinti did not testify in the
criminal trial. Moreover, the testimony of the Vice-Mayor with respect to the alleged
confession made by the accused-appellant is not conclusive. As can be seen from the
testimony of the Vice-Mayor, accused-appellant merely responded to the ambiguous
questions that the Vice-Mayor propounded to him. He did not state in certain and
categorical terms that he raped and killed Nairube. In fact, the Vice-Mayor admitted
that the accused-appellant did not tell him that he raped and killed Nairube.
People vs. Ordoño
[GR 132154, 29 June 2000]

On August 5, 1994, the decomposing body of a 15 year old rape victim was found.
The accused, Ordoño and Medina were brought to the police station but were allowed to
go home for lack of evidence. On August 10, the two accused returned and confessed.
The statements of the 2 accused were taken without the assistance of a counsel. But
before said statements were taken, both were apprised of their rights and the
investigation was conducted in the presence of the Priest, Mayor, Chief of Police and
other police officers. A radio announcer also visited and in the duly tape-recorded
interview, both accused admitted to the crime. Days later, the suspects were further
apprised of their constitutional rights by a PAO lawyer and a MTC judge. The two
accused assured the Judge that their statements had been given freely and voluntarily.
On arraignment, in a complete turnabout, the 2 accused pleaded not guilty. The
trial court adjudged the two as guilty and imposed upon them death penalties on the
basis of their extrajudicial confessions. Hence, the automatic review.

Issue: Whether the custodial investigation made in the presence of the municipal
mayor, parish priest, etc. and/or the taped interview containing the confessions is
admissible as evidence?

Held: The presence of the Parish Priest, the Municipal Mayor as well as the relatives of
the accused to obviate the possibility of coercion, and to witness the voluntary execution
by the accused of their statements, did not cure in any way the absence of a lawyer
during the investigation. Consequently, any admission obtained from the 2 accused
emanating from such uncounselled interrogation would be inadmissible in evidence in
any proceeding. Securing the assistance of the PAO lawyer 5 to 8 days later does not
remedy this omission either. The second affixation of the signatures/thumbmarks of the
accused on their confessions, in the presence of the MTC judge, likewise did not make
their admissions an informed one.

As with the interview taken by DZNL radio announcer Roland Almoite, a review
of the contents of the tape as included in Roland Almoite's testimony reveals that the
interview was conducted free from any influence or intimidation from police officers
and was done willingly by the accused. The taped interview likewise revealed that the
accused voluntarily admitted to the rape-slay and even expressed remorse for having
perpetrated the crime. We have held that statements spontaneously made by a suspect
to news reporters on a televised interview are deemed voluntary and are admissible in
evidence. By analogy, statements made by herein accused to a radio announcer should
likewise be held admissible. The interview was not in the nature of an investigation as
the response of the accused was made in answer to questions asked by the radio
reporter, not by the police or any other investigating officer. When the accused talked to
the radio announcer, they did not talk to him as a law enforcement officer, as in fact he
was not, hence their uncounselled confession to him did not violate their constitutional
rights. Sections 12, pars. (1) and (3), Art. III, of the Constitution do not cover the verbal
confessions of the 2 accused to the radio announcer. What the Constitution bars is the
compulsory disclosure of incriminating facts or confessions.
People vs Taboga
[G.R. Nos. 144086-87. February 6, 2002]

Francisca Tubon, the victim was robbed, stabbed and burned beyond recognition
when her house was set on fire. The accused, Edralin Taboga admitted that he killed the
victim and set her house on fire, causing the whole house, including the dead body of the
old woman, to be burned. Taboga was brought to the police station for further
investigation. A radio announcer of DZNS, went to the Police Station to interview the
suspect. Again, Taboga admitted killing the deceased and setting her and her house on
fire. Upon arraignment, accused-appellant entered separate pleas of "Not Guilty" to the
crimes charged and put up the defense of denial and alibi. Accused-appellant also
claimed that he was maltreated by the policemen and forced to admit the crime.
Regarding his admission to the radio announcer, he narrated that the interview was held
inside the investigation room of the police station where policemen were present and
that the reporter acted as an agent for the prosecution. Thus, he had to admit the crimes
because he was afraid of the policemen. The RTC rendered judgment finding him guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of both crimes.

Issue: Whether or not confession made by the accused to a radio reporter, a private
person, can be admitted as evidence against him?

There is nothing in the record to show that the radio announcer colluded with the
police authorities to elicit inculpatory evidence against accused-appellant. Neither is
there anything on record which even remotely suggests that the radio announcer was
instructed by the police to extract information from him on the details of the crimes.
Indeed, the reporter even asked permission from the officer-in-charge to interview
accused-appellant. Nor was the information obtained under duress. In fact, accused-
appellant was very much aware of what was going on. The records also show that
accused-appellant not only confessed to the radio reporter but to several
others. Accused-appellant failed to present convincing evidence to substantiate his claim
that he was maltreated and compelled to confess. Where the defendants did not present
evidence of compulsion or duress or violence on their persons; where they failed to
complain to the officers who administered the oaths; where they did not institute any
criminal or administrative action against their alleged intimidators for maltreatment;
where there appeared to be no marks of violence on their bodies and where they did not
have themselves examined by a reputable physician to buttress their claim, all these
should be considered as factors indicating the voluntariness of the confession. The RTC
did not err in admitting in evidence accused-appellant's taped confession. Such
confession did not form part of custodial investigation. It was not given to police officers
but to a media man in an apparent attempt to elicit sympathy. The record even discloses
that accused-appellant admitted to the Barangay Captain that he clubbed and stabbed
the victim even before the police started investigating him at the police station. Besides,
if he had indeed been forced into confessing, he could have easily asked help from the
People v Baloloy
[G.R. No. 140740. April 12, 2002]

On August 3, 1996, the 11-year-old victim, Genelyn Camacho was asked by her
father to request rice from their neighbor, but she never returned. In the evening
thereof, the dead body of Genelyn, was found at the waterfalls. Autopsy reports found
that she was raped before she was drowned. The one who discovered the body was
accused-appellant Juanito Baloloy himself, who claimed that he saw it while he was
catching frogs in a nearby creek. At the victim’s funeral, the accused confessed to the
Brgy. Captain that he only wanted to frighten the girl but ended up raping and throwing
her body. The Brgy. Captain also noticed abrasions and scratches on the body of the
accused which the latter claimed to be caused by the victim. While in the custody of the
authorities, the accused was asked incriminating questions by Judge Dicon who justified
his actions saying that Juanito was not yet in custodial investigation. Based on his
alleged extrajudicial confession, coupled with circumstantial evidence, Juanito was
found guilty of rape with homicide and was sentenced to death. On appeal, Juanito
maintains that his Constitutional rights were violated when his alleged extrajudicial
confession were admitted as evidence. He concludes that such confession is
inadmissible as he was not assisted by a counsel.

Issue: Whether or not Juanito’s extrajudicial confession before the (1) barangay captain
and before the (2) judge inadmissible?

(1) YES. As to his confession with the Baragay Captain Ceniza, it has been held that the
constitutional provision on custodial investigation does not apply to a spontaneous
statement, not elicited through questioning by the authorities but given in an ordinary
manner whereby the suspect orally admits having committed the crime. Neither can it
apply to admissions or confessions made by a suspect in the commission of a crime
before he is placed under investigation. What the Constitution bars is the compulsory
disclosure of incriminating facts or confessions. In the instant case, Juanito voluntarily
narrated to Ceniza that he raped Genelyn and thereafter threw her body into the ravine.
This narration was a spontaneous answer, freely and voluntarily given in an ordinary
manner. It was given before he was arrested or placed under custody for investigation in
connection with the commission of the offense. Moreover, Juanito did not offer any
evidence of improper or ulterior motive on the part of Ceniza, which could have
compelled her to testify falsely against him.

(2) NO. There is merit in Juanito’s claim that his constitutional rights during custodial
investigation were violated by Judge Dicon when the latter propounded to him
incriminating questions without informing him of his constitutional rights. It is settled
that at the moment the accused voluntarily surrenders to, or is arrested by, the police
officers, the custodial investigation is deemed to have started. So, he could not
thenceforth be asked about his complicity in the offense without the assistance of
counsel. Judge Dicon's claim that no complaint has yet been filed and that neither
was he conducting a preliminary investigation deserves scant consideration. The fact
remains that at that time Juanito was already under the custody of the police
authorities, who had already taken the statement of the witnesses who were then before
Judge Dicon for the administration of their oaths on their statements.